“A Piece of Pencil Lead” by Niles Reddick

There’s a piece of pencil lead in my arm. It’s not really lead but graphite. If you glance quickly, you’d assume it was another freckle. Been there forty years and I haven’t had cancer. Maggie Freeman punched me by accident in the third grade, scooping up crayons, pencils, and erasers to put in her Barbie tin. It was an accident, but my eyes filled with tears. I wiped them before they rolled. We have our class reunion soon. I wanted to show Maggie as a joke, but she died last year from cancer that spread before they found it.


“A Piece Of pencil Lead” first appeared in Red Lemon Review, 2022

IMAGE: Salavat Fidai – “Architecture Landmarks/ Eiffel Tower – Big Ben – Burj Khalifa – Burj Al Arab – Colosseum.”, 2015. Pencil graphite sculptures. Russia

Niles Reddick

Niles Reddick is author of a novel, two collections, and a novella. His work has been featured in over 450 publications including The Saturday Evening Post, PIF, New Reader Magazine, Forth Magazine, Citron Review, and The Boston Literary Magazine. He is a three time Pushcart and two time Best Micro nominee and works for the University of Memphis. His newest flash collection If Not for You is forthcoming by Big Table Publishing.


Website: http://nilesreddick.com/

Twitter: @niles_reddick

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/niles.reddick.9

Instagram: nilesreddick@memphisedu

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/niles-reddick-0759b09b/

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paul beckman

Good story, Niles. Reminded me of my sticking a pencil into my best friend’s arm. The last time I saw him he didn’t wait for me to ask, but said, “Yeah, it’s still in there”.

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